Reviving farming enterprise seminar in Forbes

By Pennie Scott

Farming has its ups and downs.  Keeping the family farming enterprise thriving is a challenge when you don’t know what the next obstacle may be.
Reducing these variations at the most base level – the soil – takes the extremes out of managing a farming business.
Hosted by BioNEW, world-renowned biological farmer and author Gary Zimmer is the special guest  accompanied by colleague, Bob Yanda.  Between them they have accumulated more than 60 years experience and knowledge. Supporting them are Australian biological farmers, an animal nutritionist and biological agronomists, Guy Webb and Tom Redfern from Gaia Consultancy.
These two-day participatory seminars cater for all sectors of agriculture, especially for people who are unsure where and how to start their transition into biological farming systems; experienced biological practitioners will be updated on the latest advancements.
On the first night of each seminar there is a dinner with the presenters – an ideal chance to meet Gary and Bob. Limited seats are available and an extra payment is required.
With changes in the seasons, this is ideal timing to learn about and implement biological practices.
Biological Farming Seminar is on at Forbes on the 17th and 18th March featuring Gary Zimmer and Bob Yanda from America,
Visit www.bionew.com.au for seminar programs or call 1300 711 367 .

Forbes horse sale a big success

By Olivia McInnes

The first ever Forbes Horse Sale sold 182 horses. OM.One of New South Wales’ western region’s biggest cattle yards hosted the first horse sale for Forbes on Saturday.
Buyers, sellers and spectators vehicles filled the car parks at the Forbes livestock exchange on Saturday for the first ever Forbes horse sale. The sale attracted people from all over NSW including Sydney, Orange, Lake Cargelligo and Boggabri.
A total of 182 horses were sold, with the top selling horse going for $2400 in the ridden section. In general, horses sold for an average of between $500 and $1200, with trade horses peaking at $650.
Luke Whitney of KMWL said the sale was of ‘massive’ proportion’s, and much bigger than expected with more people attending the venue than ever seen before. There was also a large amount of saddlery and gear sold in the morning.
Overall it was a very successful day, and one which KMWL intend to repeat with the aim being to hold a sale every quarter.

Gee’d-up for inaugural Forbes horse sale

By Olivia McInnes

A saddlery, tack and horse sale will be held on Saturday 5th March, at the Central West Livestock Exchange in Forbes.  The sale is being run by Kevin Miller, Whitty, Lennon and Co. (KMWL) and will be the first one of its kind run in the area.
Livestock agent Tom Tyson of KMWL says the sale has so far had a popular response, with approximately 100 horses being entered. “There is a big array of ridden and led horses entered. There are also a big assortment, from thoroughbreds through to kids ponies” he said.
Scott says that pending the coming sale’s success and support, KMWL plan to make it an ongoing event and hope to hold a sale every quarter.
Entries are to be sent to KMWL Forbes ASAP, and it would be appreciated if they could be in by the middle of this week.

Hospital mergers set to downgrade Forbes facilities

By Dominic Geiger

The potential merger of basic services including maternity wards at Forbes and Parkes hospitals has prompted an angry outcry from politicians, medical service workers and members of the public over the past week.
This proposal will significantly impact on Lachlan Shire women preparing to give birth following the closure of the Condobolin Health Service’s maternity unit in 2004.
In the most recent development, a spokesperson from the Western Local Health Network said no decision would be made on which services would be moved until further consultations with local doctors took place.
“There are more meetings planned with local doctors to address the issue,” the spokesperson said.
Earlier this month the Western Local Health Network had released a statement which said there has been a “proposed model (of hospital integration) presented… which details a suite of different but complimentary services which would be provided at either X and Y facilities.”
Mayor of Forbes Shire Council Phyllis Miller said the Western Local Health Network was a “toothless tiger” and under no circumstances would the Forbes or Parkes maternity ward, emergency service or surgical service shut down.
“In planning the services that will be merged, the Western NSW Local Health Network is flagging maternity as a possible option,” she said.
“The chances of this happening are nil; strategically speaking, it’s crucial to maintain both Forbes and Parkes.
“We are more than happy to negotiate other services, but we refuse to negotiate on emergency, maternity and surgical services.”
On the 14th of this month, ABC online reported several doctors at Forbes Hospital were threatening to quit if the merger of any of the three above mentioned services went ahead.
The staff member who was interviewed, Doctor Greg Whittaker, said he and other doctors at Forbes Hospital would be likely to leave within the year if the merger went ahead.
Ms Miller said the reason facilities such as maternity wards couldn’t be shut down was because having just one hospital servicing the needs of such a heavily populated region was completely unsustainable.
“It’s about having a holistic health service,” she said.
“We are entitled to the sustainability of both towns and we need both Parkes and Forbes Hospitals fully operational.”

Concerns to be voiced at Basin Plan meeting

Hundreds are anticipated to converge on Forbes tomorrow 4 November for the Murray Darling Water Plan community consultation sessions. This is the only consultation meeting scheduled for the Lachlan Valley.
All residents are encouraged to attend the meeting and voice their views and concerns of the Murray Darling Water Plan in its current state.
The meeting is at the Forbes Services Memorial Centre at 41-43 Templar Street from 9am-12pm. The Lachlan Shire Council have organised a bus for people needing transport which will leave the Council Champbers at 7.30am. For more information contact Lachlan Shire Council on (02) 6895 1900.

Consolidated approach to Basin Plan meetings

By Sally Willoughby
The Lachlan Shire Council will attend a meeting early next month before the Murray Darling Basin Authority’s information session in Forbes on 4th November to ensure a consolidated approach from Lachlan Valley councils to the proposed water cuts.
Cowra, Parkes, Forbes and Carrathool will join the local Council with Lachlan Shire Council Mayor Des Manwaring saying the meetings will ensure all the Council’s along the Lachlan Valley are on the same wavelength.
“Rather than come at different angles, the initial meeting will ensure we approach the Basin consultation with a consolidated approach and in that way hopefully present a stronger argument against it,” Mr Manwaring said.
With the Plan proposing strict water cuts to the region, Mr Manwaring said the cuts to town water supply were of most concern.
“They will be cutting us back to something like 340 litres [a day] of town water supply which is equivalent to last year’s restriction of fifty per cent and we ended up having to buy water in last year as we couldn’t survive on the restricted levels,” Mr Manwaring said.
The average consumption levels in the Lachlan Shire are 650 litres per person per day.
“It seems ludicrous to me to enforce such a restriction when it’s just not necessary,” Mr Manwaring said.
“We’ve come through ten years of drought which people could recover from but now we’re going to have an enforced drought that we very well may not recover from if the plan comes into place.
“The loss of agricultural production is important but just as important is the flow on effects if this Plan were to go ahead and loss of jobs that will occur down the line,” he said.
The closest public consultation meeting on the Murray Darling Water Basin Plan will be held at Forbes on November 4th at Forbes Services Memorial Centre, 41-43 Templar Street from 9am-12pm.

Don’t risk bloat

A cow displaying a classic bloat symptom - abnormal distension of the abdomen, particularly on the left-hand sideWritten by Belinda Edmonstone, Lachlan LHPA District Vet

With the arrival of spring and ongoing rain we are expecting increase incidences of bloat in cattle. Bloat can occur when cattle graze highly digestible pastures, in particular legumes such as lucerne and clover.
According to a Meat and Livestock Australia study, bloat is the most expensive cattle health issue in southern Australia. Bloat can kill a large number of animals in a very short space of time.
The rumen of a cow is a big fermentation vat that is full of microbes turning grass, legumes and grain into digestible nutrients. As a result tiny gas bubbles of methane and carbon dioxide are produced. These normally break down into a free gas bubble which is belched out by the cow. If the diet is highly digestible this does not happen and the gas remains in a stable foam which cannot be belched. This will cause marked distension of the rumen and if severe will occlude the blood flow back to the heart so that the animal dies rapidly of cardiorespiratory failure.
A bloated animal has a grossly distended abdomen high in the left flank area. As the abdomen continues to distend the animal becomes more and more distressed and starts to stagger, gasps for air, collapses and dies. The progression to death can be very rapid.
Bloat calls for prompt intervention. Move all stock off the risky paddock. Walking less severely bloated animals can sometimes help resolve the problem. Treating orally with oil destabilises the foam. In severe cases, emergency veterinary treatment is required and for this reason prevention is a much better option.
There are a number of strategies to prevent bloat:
Bloat capsules can be administered. These contain an agent that modifies the microbes in the rumen so less gas produced. There is also the added benefit of improving weight gains due to more efficient digestion. The downside is that they are quite expensive at about $ 16/head and they can be difficult to administer.
Bloat oils can be used to destabilise the foam produced. These need to be administered every day. They can be administered in water troughs (provided this is the only source of water) or made available in blocks.
Only grazing pastures when they are not as high risk. Legumes are safer to graze when they are flowering. The problem with this is that you sometimes have to avoid grazing highly productive pastures.
Cattle will learn to handle risky pastures by reducing consumption when they start to feel bloated. Young hungry stock will consume more and therefore have a greater risk of bloating. Do not put hungry stock on risky pastures.
Another important thing to remember is that the same pasture conditions can predispose to pulpy kidney and that clinically they can be indistinguishable. All you find are blown up carcasses. This is easily and cheaply prevented by vaccinating using a ‘5in1’ vaccine. It should be noted that the pulpy kidney component of this vaccine is only effective for 3 months. Providing roughage in fresh highly digestible pastures can also be beneficial.
If you have any questions please call the district vet at the Lachlan LHPA: Forbes Office; 6852 1688, Young Office; 6382 1255, or Condobolin Office;  6895 2152.

Lachlan School Sports wins Overall Point Score Trophy

Condobolin Public School’s Kim King, pictured with Paul Faulkner, received a Western School Sports Assoc. Service Badge in recognition of her efforts. Courtesy Parkes Champion Post.Lachlan School Sports Association (PSSA) has won the overall pointscore trophy contested by the 11 zones within Western PSSA. This was announced at the Annual General Meeting of Western PSSA held at Wellington.
Lachlan has previously won the Handicap Poinstscore trophy (based on school enrolment) some four times since 1996. Dubbo PSSA have won the Overall Pointscore trophy every year since  its inception some 20 years ago, with Orange winning in 2009.
The fact that Dubbo District usually has a total enrolment of Year 3 to Year 6 pupils of 2000 plus compared to the 1400 students in Lachlan schools, suggests that the achievement of the Lachlan athletics squad is outstanding.
Lachlan teachers, Paul Faulkner (Bedgerebong – President Lachlan PSSA and Lachlan PSSA Athletics manager), Greg Morrissey (Parkes East, Lachlan secretary/treasurer and athletics convener) and Denise King (Principal Forbes Public and Primary Schools principal’s delegate to Western Schools Sports Association) were on hand at the Western Annual General Meeting in Wellington to accept the trophy.
Paul Faulkner and Greg Morrissey were delighted to display the trophy at the Lachlan PSSA Annual General Meeting held at Bogan Gate Public School on October 13. This meeting saw Greg Morrissey awarded Life Membership of Lachlan PSSA for his contribution since 1977.
Lachlan PSSA is composed of the following schools: Parkes Primary, Parkes East, Middleton, Forbes, Forbes North, Condobolin, Bogan Gate, Bedgerebong, Corinella, Caragabal, Eugowra and Quandialla Central.
Many Lachlan athletes will now travel to Sydney for the NSW PSSA Athletics Carnival at Homebush (2000 Olympic Games venue) on October 20 and 21. All the athletes qualified to represent Western PSSA after their performances at their respective school carnivals, then at Lachlan PSSA carnival staged in Parkes and finally at the Western PSSA Athletics Carnival at Dubbo.
Condobolin Public School teacher, Mrs Kim King received a Western School Sports Association Service Badge to recognize her outstanding efforts in Lachlan PSSA over the last 10 years. Mrs King has been the swimming convener for the past 10 years and over the last three years has also convened the rugby league while also acting as the PSSA Sports co-ordinator at Condobolin.

New LHPA chairman

A new chairman of the Lachlan Livestock Health and Pest Authority was elected at the authority’s board meeting last week.
Board member Chris Sweeney, a Forbes farmer specialising in feedlotting lambs, has been elected chairman of the Lachlan LHPA following the former chairman James Maslin’s decision to retire from the position after five years.
Lachlan LHPA general manager, Peter Brown says that Mr Sweeney has a long association with the LHPA and former Rural Lands Protection Boards (RLPBs), and will continue to ensure strong guidance and direction for the authority.
“Chris was initially elected to the former Forbes RLPB in 2006 and then elected to the Lachlan LHPA in 2009, so he has had four years of continuous service as a director,” Mr Brown said.
“Chris has a strong commitment to ensuring the ongoing success of the now established LHPA.
“As well as his experience with the organisation, Chris runs his own farming enterprise in the Lachlan area and has a broad knowledge of livestock health and pest issues facing landholders in the region.”
Mr Sweeney is actively involved in the local community, being associated with both senior and junior rugby and junior cricket. He is a member of the Forbes Shire Council Saleyard Advisory Committee, as well as a member of the working party for the establishment of the new sheep saleyard facility.
Mr Sweeney and his wife Kathryn, a local school teacher, have four children.

Joining forces against violence

A 'Strong Aboriginal Women' workshop was held in Condobolin to raise awareness about domestic violenceRepresentatives from the Education Centre Against Violence in Sydney led a ‘Strong Aboriginal Women’ workshop in Condobolin last week designed to empower local aboriginal communities and raise awareness about the prevalence and affects of domestic, family and sexual violence.
Attended by approximately 25 people from Lake Cargelligo, Murrin Bridge, Forbes and Orange, the four-day course examined the nature, extent and dynamics of domestic violence as well as the impact on women, children and young people.
Community Educators from the Education Centre Against Violence, Pam Greer and Virginia Elliott, said the program was focused on educating community women.
“The plan is to let them talk about how they can come together to support women who are going through domestic violence and help young girls who are in early relationships understand that they deserve better than to be treated badly or knocked around,” Pam said.
“It’s about breaking the silence and the cycle of violence and making the women aware of the impact of this behaviour and the importance of keeping women and children safe and also letting them know it’s the perpetrators who need to take full responsibility for their actions,” Virginia said.
The program also explored strategies to break the cycle of violence in the home by showing the women ways to talk to young girls in potentially violent relationships to demand respect and how mothers can break the cycle with their sons by educating them to respect women and showing zero tolerance to violent behaviour.
Donna Bliss from Yoorana Gunya in Forbes who organised the program to visit Condobolin said the strong attendance from community women strengthened the plight and allowed them to overcome the problem together.
“We see domestic violence so often in our community and this program is about strengthening women, empowering them and making them aware of how they can stop the situation,” Donna said.
Another workshop will run in November which will help demystify legal language and familiarise Aboriginal women with their rights and the court process in relation to domestic violence. It will be held from Tuesday 2 November to Thursday 4 November at The Shed, Ooma Street, Forbes. Call Yoorana Gunya on (02) 851 5111 for enquires.

Anaemia in lambs

By Katharine Marsh – Lachlan LHPA district vet

Recently there have been a couple of cases of producers losing weaners or older lambs after marking. In one case a producer reported apparently healthy weaners going down as they were mustered, with one animal dying.
In another case the producer reported the lambs looking apparently healthy until a few weeks after marking, when several became depressed with deaths –again this occurred when they were mustered.
In both these cases it was suspected that anaemia (a loss of red blood cells) was the cause, especially when on closer examination affected lambs and weaners were also pale in the gums and the inside of the eye.
If you have sheep showing similar signs to those mentioned it is important that you have the problem diagnosed correctly before attempting any treatment. There are a number of causes of anaemia in sheep, including barber’s pole worm and leptospirosis.
In these cases the culprit was found to be a blood born parasite of sheep called Mycoplasma ovis or M. ovis for short. It was formerly known as Eperythrozoon ovis or E. ovis. The parasite causes destruction of the red blood cells leading to severe anaemia.
It is thought that M. ovis is present in many flocks, but causes inapparent infection unless sheep are stressed in some manner. Young sheep are more susceptible and the majority of outbreaks occur in lambs or weaners. Older sheep are relatively resistant, but problems may be seen if the stock are under considerable stress, eg poor nutrition or experiencing severe worm burdens.
One of the most common ways M. ovis is spread is through management practices that transfer blood, such as ear tagging and mulesing. For this reason, and to avoid infections in general, good hygiene at marking is critical. Instruments used should be disinfected and the disinfectant changed regularly.
It is thought the disease may also be spread by mosquitoes, being blood suckers, and flies coming into contact with wounds, including shearing cuts. This may explain why weaners and older animals contract the disease.
The frustrating thing for producers with M. ovis infected sheep is that there is no specific treatment. The disease is controlled by leaving the affected mob in a paddock with good feed and water for several weeks without handling. After this period they should have recovered.
To help avoid the problem, and as part of good management, close attention should be given to nutrition and worm control, especially in younger classes of sheep. Consideration should also be given to planning management so that sheep don’t need to be yarded for several weeks following marking or shearing.
For further information contact your Lachlan LHPA district vet in Forbes, Young or Condobolin.

Condo hosts cereal rust workshop

On Thursday August 19 a Cereal Rust Workshop was held at the Condobolin Research and Advisory Station for Advisors and Growers. The meeting was well attended with around 35 growers and advisors from across the Condobolin and Forbes district in attendance.
The guest speakers for the morning session was Associate Professor Colin Wellings, Sydney University, Plant Breeding Institute, Cobbitty, Peter Matthews, acting Technical Specialist (Cereal Farming Systems), Temora and Ian Menz, District Agronomist at Condobolin.
The session covered the history of cereal rust within Australia and how the disease has developed since being detected in Australia and the origins of different pathogens within Australia at the present time. Colin presented the findings from last seasons rust survey and the likely risks to cereal crops in 2010.
Concurrent sessions were conducted, providing information on rust reaction and variety selection. Colin displayed the disease reaction to different stains or pathogens of rust on many of the current wheat varieties, as well as identification of rust on plants. In this session, the take home message was variety selection as it is important to select a variety with a high resistance level.
Peter and Ian of Industry and Investment NSW conducted an information session on the disease effects and condition required for the disease to develop as well as providing information on current fungicide treatments. In this session the timing of fungicide application was noted as the take home message.
It is very important to carry out regular crop monitoring to achieve early detection of disease. It may be necessary to apply one, two or even three application of fungicide to maintain the protection of the flag, minus one and two leaves, which are the “money leaves” of the plant. The use of seed dressing was also discussed as this provides early seedling and plant protection to delay foliar fungicides application.

Local bulls sell in Forbes

Moogenilla Angus, Condobolin held an auction of 44 Angus bulls at the Forbes Livestock Exchange on Friday 6th August.
After 20 year of Breedplan recording and private treaty bull sales, this was Moogenilla’s first auction.
Sarah Wrigley said, “We decided to move to an auction to give all our clients equal access to the top bulls, and to access some new clients from further east. Luke Whitty, KMWL & Co, conducted the auction, and his enthusiasm was another factor in the decision to move to an auction system for selling the Moogenilla bulls.”
The auction was a resounding success, with a total clearance of the 44 bulls at an average of $4594 and a top of $9250. The top priced bull was Moogenilla D52, a 918 kg Te Mania Yorkshire son with a birth weight EBV of +2.9, 600 day of +110 and CAAB $ index of +121. He was sold to Cowra, however local buyers Stuckey Bros, Jon L’Estrange, Scott Worthington, Alan Geeves, Terry Ireland and Jim Davis also secured top quality bulls.
Other local bidders missed out on bulls due to the strong demand, assisted by the good season in western NSW and SW Queensland.
Eight bulls sold to Cunnamulla and five to Ivanhoe. The western NSW & QLD buyers were existing Moogenilla clients returning for more bulls because they were pleased with the Moogenilla bull’s performance in the pastoral areas.
One Cunnamulla client has been particularly impressed with the Moogenilla bull’s performance over Brahman cows in Mulga country in SW Qld. Bulls also went to Lightening Ridge, Tullibigeal, Quambone, Wallendbeen, Cumnock, Woodstock, Greenthorpe, Bathurst and Orange.
Sarah Wrigley, Paul Sinderberry, the Wrigley family and Luke Whittey and the KMWL & Co staff expressed their thanks to the local bidders, underbidders and local agents Greg Moncrieff and Darren Frankel for supporting the first Moogenilla bull auction.
Next year Moogenilla will have more bulls on offer, and hope to service all client’s bull requirements – let’s just hope the season stays good for all beef producers out there!

Finding the way to the “Utes in the Paddock”

Utes in the paddock Tourist Attraction Signposting Assessment CommitteeFinally highway signs may be on their way to make it easier to find Utes in the Paddock.
At a recently hosted Lachlan Shire Council meeting with the Tourist Attraction Signposting Assessment Committee (TASAC), ‘Utes in the Paddock’ Project Officer Jana Pickles submitted an application and was later given approval for signage of the ‘Utes in the Paddock’ tourist attraction in the category of short stay.
The ‘Utes’ attraction requires no entrance fee charge and is able to be viewed on foot or by driving by with the approximate stopping time of 15 minutes or less and  was  therefore classified as ‘short stay’ thus making it exempt from providing public toilets on site.
Although there are still some minor issues to be addressed before the signs are installed, and the number and location of the signs has not yet been determined, the popular attraction is now eligible for official “white on brown”  tourist attraction signposting.
TASAC’s decision represents an official acknowledgement of the significance of Utes in the Paddock for tourism in the area, adding to the recognition the project received last year when it won the Silver Award for Heritage and Cultural Tourism in the NSW Tourism Awards.
“Having official tourist signposting is a big step forward.  The signs will help visitors and local residents by making the outdoor gallery so much easier to find.
“Nearby residents have been very patient and supportive over the past couple of years, but answering the door bell to give directions must be getting old” says Jana Pickles, coordinator for the community project.
“Local business operators, who rely on people stopping at their shops, see the increased traffic as a good opportunity to increase sales.  But when the knock comes during Sunday lunch at home with the family, or you’re not up for a chat, it’s a different matter.
“To the credit of local residents, visitors to the outdoor gallery often comment that they’ve really appreciated the welcoming attitude of local neighbours who’ve kindly put them on the right track.”
“Although there’s a small sign at the highway corner and directional flyers are available in Parkes, Forbes and Condobolin, travellers who are new to the area often miss the turnoff and end up somewhere in Ootha or Derriwong wondering how to find ‘the Utes’.
Jana explains,  “There are restrictions related to signage along highways so we needed to go through the proper channels to get approval.  We’re very excited for the community that TASAC agrees the attraction is worthy of official signage.  Once the signs are put up, everyone including local visitor information centres will find it easier to give travellers accurate directions and it should make finding the turnoff much easier.  That’ll minimise confusion or frustration for people coming out to the area for the first time and, hopefully give the neighbours some relief.”
The attraction now draws an average of 300+ vehicles each week.  In an effort to encourage visitors to spend time in local communities as well as seeing ‘the Utes’, a sign has now been installed at the gallery directing people to local businesses for refreshments and for Utes in the Paddock souvenirs.
It’s all part of the original idea of getting more people to come to this part of the state so they can see everything the area has to offer.
Lachlan Shire Council General Manager George Cowan was pleased the TASAC Committee approved the ‘Utes in the Paddock’ tourist attraction application for signage.
“The ‘Utes in the Paddock’ tourist attraction is a significant draw card into the central west region and appropriate signage will ensure that no tourist will miss out on this unique tourism experience” said Mr Cowan. Contributed

Brushing up on work and life skills

Mental Health Support Officer Di Gill speaks at the Spec Elliot Memorial Brush Cutting ChampionshipsBy Karen Tooth

The Murda State Forest,  near Condobolin was the scene for an unique competition for State Forestry NSW  field staff  last week when they held the “Spec  Elliott Memorial Brush cutting Championships”. The competition, started in 1999, is named after Clarence “Spec” Elliott who was a marketing foreman at Forbes for over 30 years.
Claimed to be the only event of its kind in the world, brush cutting teams from across NSW compete in a fun and yet informative day. As last year’s winners Condobolin, which is part of the Forbes grouping, were hosts to the championships this year. A team from Barellan won this year’s title from crews that travelled from as far away as Inverell to Narrandera.
Forbes Forest Centre covers a very large area from Dubbo to the Victorian border.  They manage 161 state forests in this area, including several around the Condobolin area. Fieldstaff are based at Forbes, Condobolin and Narrandera.
Forestry Field staff conduct  operational brush cutting (using oversized whipper snippers) to thin and manage cypress pine forests of what is referred as ‘wheat crop regeneration’-thus allowing trees the space to grow. The job is both labour intensive and dangerous and has been carried out by Forestry since the 1970’s and has been the best way to clear brush despite experimentation with other mechanical means.
In conjunction with the competition, State Forestry held their Annual Safety Day which included workshops and speakers from GWAHS. Mental Health Drought Support Officer Di Gill and Dietician Rebecca Jarman covered topics that included mental health, men’s health plus a men’s Pit Stop which included health checks.
Alan  Smith, Senior Forester, Forbes said, “The day was an opportunity to showcase what Forestry can do plus feature the Condobolin area with Murda State Forest being so accessible to all the visitors. Paul Yeomans, the local foreman and the Forbes team prepared the area really well. The short sessions worked extremely well – particularly the take up on the Pit Stop health checks. We were very happy with the day.”
State Forests are Government owned land and are freely available to the public.  People can use forests for recreational pursuits such as walking and horseriding, as well as collection of firewood (with a permit).  These forests are also used to supply timber to the local sawmill on Condobolin.

New teeth bite into local school zones

‘Dragon’s teeth’ have recently been installed on the entry points of all of the 40km/h school zones across the Parkes, Forbes and Lachlan Shire Council areas.
The Councils’ Road Safety and Injury Prevention Officer, Melanie Suitor, says that ‘dragon’s teeth’ increase the visibility of school zones for motorists.
“’Dragon’s teeth’ are white triangular markings that are painted on the road surface at the entry to 40km/h school zones across the State.
“The NSW Government announced the rollout of ‘dragon’s teeth’ in all of the State’s 10,000 school zones in May 2009.
Dragons Teeth will lead into 40km/h school zones across the Lachlan ShireThe ‘dragon’s teeth’ have recently been installed across the Parkes, Forbes and Lachlan Shire Council areas and are expected to be installed in all school zones  across the State by the end of the year.
“’Dragon’s teeth’ provide a constant reinforcement to slow down to 40km/h around schools between 8am – 9.30am and from 2.30pm – 4pm.
“The installation of ‘dragon’s teeth’ is not new to road safety.
These markings are already used internationally to alert drivers they are entering a school zone and remind them to slow down,” Ms Suitor said.
The ‘dragon’s teeth’ are 35 metres long and combined with school zone signs, flashing lights (where installed) and speed limit markings on the roadway, drivers will have no doubt they are travelling in a school zone.
“Children are not always capable of judging how fast a vehicle is travelling, so it is important that motorists slow down in school zones.  ‘Dragon’s teeth’ will assist with this,” Ms Suitor said.
Penalties for speeding in a school zone range from $141 and two demerit points to $1,859 and seven demerit points depending on how fast you are driving.
Police  are also reminding motorists that now that schools have returned for another term they will be enforcing the 40km/h school zone speed limit.
For further information please contact Parkes Shire Council’s Road Safety and Injury Prevention Officer, Melanie Suitor, on (02) 6861 2364.

Water information sessions to be held in the Lachlan Valley

NSW Office of Water, Director of Water Management and Implementation, Peter Christmas said yesterday that a series of information sessions would be held across the Lachlan Valley next week to inform water users on the operation of the Lachlan River over the coming months in light of the continuing drought.
“I encourage the communities throughout the Lachlan Valley to attend the information sessions to discuss the drought management strategies being formulated to cope with possible severe water shortages during the upcoming summer,” said Mr Christmas.
“Last year we took the unprecedented action of limiting flows along the Lachlan River to conserve the remaining water in Wyangala Dam for critical human needs due to historically low storage levels in the dam.”
“This year conditions have improved only marginally and without further inflows there may be the need to again restrict flows in the Lachlan River as the warmer months approach.”
He said the NSW Office of Water, together with State Water and the Lachlan Customer Service Committee, will conduct meetings at Oxley, Booligal, Hillston, Lake Cargelligo, Condobolin and Forbes next week.
“The six meetings will be held over two days on the 19 and 20 July.
I encourage all interested people from these communities to attend so they understand the severity of the issues facing the Lachlan Valley and the actions that may be necessary if the drought does not break.”
Mr Christmas said that under the current circumstances it is still necessary to apply the temporary water restrictions along the Lachlan River to help preserve the available water for as long as possible.
“As all water users are affected by the critical water shortage along the Lachlan River, it’s important to remind people that water taken under basic landholder rights is restricted in accordance with the local council town water restrictions,” Mr Christmas said.

The information sessions will be held at the following locations:
Monday 19 July
Oxley: 9.00-11.00am, Oxley Hall
Booligal: 1.00-3.00pm, Booligal Hall
Hillston: 4:30-6:30pm, Hillston Ex-Services Club
Tuesday 20 July
Lake Cargelligo: 8:30-11.00am, Lake Cargelligo Boat Club
Condobolin: 12:30-3.00pm, Agricultural Research Station
Forbes: 4.30-6.30pm, Forbes RSL.
More information regarding Critical Water Planning in the Lachlan Valley is available on the NSW Office of Water website: www.water.nsw.gov.au

Pregnant and lactating ewes warning

By Nik Cronin, Lachlan LHPA district vet

Recently I was called out to a farm where the owner had gone out to check his lambing ewes and found six dead and a dozen or more down in the paddock.  Up until a few days before, these ewes had been on a lucerne paddock which was getting down a bit.  The farmer had turned them onto a green cereal crop to give them some more feed.
Considering the history and the signs present on examining the ewes, a tentative diagnosis of hypocalcaemia – or ‘milk fever’ – was made.  Hypocalcaemia means that the animal does not have enough calcium in its blood to support normal function.  The first sign in an affected animal may be a funny gait or muscle tremors.  Then they become weak and tottery and lay down, first quite upright and then flat out on their side before dying.  This all usually happens quite rapidly, generally within hours.  In this case the farmer had noticed a couple of ewes laying down and looking unwell the evening before, but it was when he went out the following morning that the extent of the problem was evident.
A blood sample was taken from a couple of ewes in case laboratory testing was needed to confirm hypocalcaemia, but in most cases a response to treatment with calcium confirms the diagnosis.  All the down ewes were treated with a solution of glucose and calcium and most showed an improvement in signs.  There were however some that still went on to die but it was noticed that some had signs of mastitis, and those which were flat out on their sides may have regurgitated and then inhaled gut fluid which usually causes fatal pneumonia.
Although it is obviously important to treat any animals that are down, it is critical to understand that the rest of the flock are also likely to have dangerously low blood calcium levels and are at risk of collapsing.  We find the easiest and cheapest way to prevent this is to put out loose licks of lime and salt at a ratio of 1:1 in various containers in the paddock.  In this case the sheep took really well to the supplement and got stuck right into it for the first little while.  In time as their body levels replenish their intake slows.
There were a few risk factors for hypocalcaemia in this case.  The first was that these were big ewes (many with twins and triplets) that were producing a large amount of milk which drains a lot of body calcium.  The second was the change in paddock from lucerne to lush green cereal crop which despite its appearance is generally low in calcium.  There was also a cool weather change at this time which increases metabolic demand and places more stress on the animal.
So in general whenever you put late pregnant or lactating sheep onto a green cereal crop it is a good idea to offer a calcium supplement.  If you have any questions on this or other livestock health matters please contact any of the Lachlan LHPA livestock health staff at the Forbes, Young or Condobolin offices.

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